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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brand Ideal

I was reading an article on Facebook's upcoming public stock offering. Mark Zuckerberg is quoted as having said "We don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services.... These days, I think more and more people want to use services from companies that believe in something beyond simply maximizing profits." That's a good message to remind yourself about once in a while.
Then, I got an email about the release of a new business book called "Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies" by Jim Stengel. I'm also now enrolled in Amanda Aitken's "Girls Guide to Web Design" Jetsetters' class (now you really know why I haven't been blogging lately!). One of the first exercises that Amanda has you do is fill out a three-page questionnaire on how you want your website to look, but it's really so much more than that. Her questions are getting at the heart of what you want your company (and, in some ways, yourself) to look like. 
All of these sources and exercises are getting at the same thing, something that Mr. Stengel has dubbed "brand ideal." What is it that your company, and you, stand for? What are you trying to accomplish (and if your only answer is "making money," try again!)? We all know that any business enterprise is trying to make money, but, these days, it really does have to be about so much more. 
Some describe it as "finding one's passion in life." It's funny, I got rejected by a date way back when because, at the time, I didn't really have a passion I was pursuing. Oh, sure, I enjoyed my job very much, and I enjoyed going to movies, eating out with friends, and so on, but I didn't have a particular activity I was engaged in with the level of passion this guy had with playing the piano. He described how he'd rush home after work in order to be able to play, learn new songs, and spend hours at it. I remember thinking at the time that I couldn't imagine pouring over something with such focus and dedication. Fast forward, and here I am, often spending hours each night working on some aspect of Many Creative Gifts -- the crocheting (and knitting :-) itself, the patterns, the website, the blog, and on and on. And, most importantly, loving every minute of it. You have to -- it's a lot of hard work to achieve that level of focus and dedication, to hone your craft to the point where it's not just a hobby, but frankly is worth sharing with others and, if you so choose, turning it into a potential business.
So, do some hard thinking on this for yourself. We only get 24 hours a day, at least 8 of which I hope you are spending sleeping, so how are you spending your time? Are you spending it on things you enjoy doing? I know that there are things that we all have to do that we don't like doing, but putting all of that aside, what is your passion? And, what are you going to do about it?! If you have a passion and just want to do it for yourself, then that's awesome because there is always the danger of trying to monetize your passion and, instead, losing your love of the activity. But, if you want to turn your passion into a business enterprise, there are a lot of ways to go about doing so, and one of the ways I hope to help you through this blog is by curating some of the resources I've come across that I think have been helpful to me in pursuing my passion. And, Steve, by any chance if you are reading this, I only have one thing to say -- thank you!

Monday, May 14, 2012


What a busy week the last one was!  I had a beginners' crochet class on Wednesday night then off to the Renwick HandiHour on Thursday.  Much fun!

I unfortunately did not make it to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  I'm especially sad this year since the Owens Family was there, displaying some of their Coopworth sheep (was Princess there?!).  I haven't gotten a specific update on Princess in a while, but I did get a nice letter and brochure in the mail, explaining that April is quite a busy time on the farm with all the new baby animals -- 135 of them!  Apparently, this year, they used a "teaser ram."  They send in a vasectomized ram to synchronize the ewes' heat cycles, which occur every 17 days.  The first heat apparently is a weak one, in which the ewe releases only one egg (and twins are the goal), so the teaser is sent in so that the ewes don't end up pregnant.  Then, in the next cycle when a ewe is more likely to shed two eggs, they send in the breeding rams.  It worked!  Out of 71 ewes bearing lambs, 58 had twins or triplets!

Which reminds me, so I now have two dog brushes and am ready to give the carding a try.  I have to say though, I'm getting a little nervous about this -- the lady on the YouTube video makes it look easy, but... ;-)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A New Look

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but as you can see, I've been up to some behind-the-scenes changes, more of which should be coming to light soon.  So, what do we think of the new look?!  Would love some feedback on the changes :-)  Though, I have to say, not sure that the new Blogger dashboard is as user-friendly as the previous version, but guess everyone's needing a change these days
And, I'm still recovering from the Metro Yarn Crawl, but what a great time! As I mentioned, I got 9 out of 10 store stamps and decided to go back to Knit + Stitch = Bliss in Bethesda to enter their drawing.

 And I won!!  What a great gift:

Six hanks of Tahki's Cotton Classic Light in a beautiful mauve color that does not quite come through in this picture, a kit to make a hat, three great knit and crochet pattern booklets, and a really nice tote bag.  I've already picked out a crochet pattern that calls for 6 balls of the Tahki, so I hope to get started on it soon and get some pictures of it up here.

I'm also hoping to start some of the other great projects I've been thinking about and start using up some of the way-too-much yarn I have now.

More changes coming, so come back soon!